New resident student organization creates community for neurodivergent students on campus.
BY ERICA MUNISAR, NEWS EDITOR
A new organization has come to campus in Fall 2023. UBU at Mason stands for “You Be You” and was founded by junior Adam Rizzoli as an RSO to create a community for neurodivergent students on campus.
“UBU at George Mason University is a new and rapidly growing club created by neurodiverse and disabled students for our community. Our two main goals are to build a community for us while advocating for our interests,” said Rizzoli.
UBU regularly hosts meetings for their members where they have opportunities to get acquainted whether it be through activities such as game nights or talking about ways to improve Mason together for neurodivergent students on campus.
“Our Instagram contains informative posts aimed to educate people that do not know much about various conditions and might help members of our community learn more about themselves,” said Rizzoli.
On one of their Instagram posts, the group personally discusses the definition of neurodiversity. “Neurodiversity is the idea that various conditions, such as Autism and ADHD, are naturally occurring variations of the human mind.” said the post. Other terms such as “Stimming”, “Functioning Labels” and “Identity First vs Person First Language” among more are defined on their page in detail.
The organization expands on its education by pairing up with other organizations at Mason to take action. “In advocating for our interests, we have connections to numerous major organizations on campus. We have meetings with RSOs, Student Government, and other organizations on learning about each other and explaining to them the importance of neurodiversity,” said Rizzoli.
Rizzoli stresses what can come in absence of action to protect the community. “It was not too long ago (30 years) that it was legal to discriminate against disabled people in employment, housing, and even university admissions. I don’t want to go backward to a world without safety ramps, elevators, food labels in the cafeteria, door opening buttons, and other everyday items that break down barriers by making living life easier for everyone.”
The impact that UBU has goes towards supporting overall diversity at Mason for all and promoting a stronger voice for neurodivergent students at Mason.
“By attempting to build a model of what we think George Mason University should look like and by spreading information on our vision to the wider community, UBU aims to vastly improve inclusivity here. Imagine a world built around trying to find ways to include more people and reach out to bring down barriers before they hold students back. This is what we want for George Mason University, the freedom for you to be you, regardless of how you think or what your body can do.” said Rizzoli.
Students who are interested in joining UBU or becoming educated through their resources can see their Discord, Instagram or their Mason360 signup.